The horse racing world was surprised this weekend as legendary coach Bob Baffert was suspended by Churchill Downs after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failed a post-race drug check. Baffert, who claimed his seventh derby win earlier this month, is now beneath fireplace following the New York Occasions report on the colt’s failed check. Horses skilled by Baffert have reportedly failed 5 checks within the final 12 months.
In response Baffert is in the midst of a damage-controlling media blitz, which has develop into extra hilarious than anybody thought potential. It started with a chorus that has develop into all too widespread in latest months: Blaming backlash over doubtlessly drugging horses to achieve a aggressive edge on “cancel tradition.”
This exceptional self-own ostensibly positions Baffert and saying “drugging horses is okay, y’all are simply too delicate about it.” That’s, until he has a unique definition of “cancel tradition” as everybody else. Baffert has been coaching horses since 1979, largely with out problem, solely not too long ago being known as out on the likelihood he’s been injecting his horses with illicit steroids to create winners. Over the span of his 4 decade profession a complete of 30 horses have registered constructive drug checks on Baffert’s watch, with 4 within the final 12 months.
A 2018 incident in Santa Anita was dismissed as “feed contamination” after Triple Crown winner Justify examined constructive for elevated ranges of scopolamine, a movement illness drug. Then in 2020 the case of two horses that returned constructive checks for lidocaine in Arkansas, each skilled by Baffert, had been equally dismissed. This time after it was believed the drugs was by chance transferred from an assistant coach utilizing the drug themself.
Medina Spirit’s constructive check is shining a brand new gentle on these previous points, and the coach isn’t completely happy. Baffert’s Churchill Downs suspension is pending a full investigation, however slightly than letting the method play out, Baffert is on the assault. This time pinning the blame on “cancel tradition” and rampant unchecked secure urination.
Time will inform if consuming pee hay is certainly a believable purpose why horses would return constructive checks, however Baffert positive needs you to suppose so. In actual fact, he’s even used this very same excuse earlier than.
Personally, if I had been a billionaire race horse proprietor I wouldn’t be thrilled with the concept that the coach I employed was having my horses eat pee hay, however I digress.
Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit examined constructive for elevated ranges of betamethasone, a standard steroidal remedy for arthritis in horses. Nonetheless, Baffert claims the horse was by no means handled with the drug — elevating questions on the way it bought in its system. An impartial investigation is underway, however Baffert needs you to know that regardless of there being points in horse racing, the problem isn’t him. “There’s issues in racing. However it’s not Bob Baffert,” Baffert mentioned.
Nonetheless, there does appear to be a problem. The latest constructive check of Medina Spirit comes lower than a 12 months after Baffert himself vowed to have stricter procedures in place to keep away from constructive checks arising beneath his watch.
“I’m very conscious of the a number of incidents this 12 months regarding my horses and the impression it has had on my household, horse racing and me,” Mr. Baffert mentioned in a press release. “I need to have a constructive affect on the game of horse racing. Horses have been my life, and I owe the whole lot to them and the super sport during which I’ve been so lucky to be concerned.”
The result of wider testing will not be obtainable for a number of weeks, throwing your complete Triple Crown course of into disarray. Baffert is vowing to run two horses on the Preakness, no matter what Churchill Downs plans to do, and has no intentions of stopping Medina Spirit from operating, both this weekend, or on the Belmont in 4 weeks.
The latest investigation might strip Medina Spirit of the 2021 Kentucky Derby victory, making it the third horse within the race’s historical past to win and be stripped of the title. If that ought to happen then second place Mandaloun could be named champion.
Replace: After 24 hrs of conspiracy theories, Baffert acknowledged that Medina Spirit had been handled with medicine, which he beforehand mentioned didn’t occur.